The opportunities and challenges of working with students

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


As we move towards an ageing population, quality education and lifelong learning for all has been acknowledged
as being a key element in UNESCO’s mission (2008-2013). Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (2014, p4) further stated
that; ‘…Global Citizenship Education must also be considered crucial elements for well-rounded educational systems.’ Over
a billion people are annually on the move globally, with approximately 40 million being refugees or internally displaced
(UNHCR, 2014 cited in UNESCO, 2014). Therefore there are challenges in that all educational institutions need to assist the
immigrants in the integration process and in facilitating the acceptance of the immigrants by the population of the host
countries. Higher Education has a key role to play in this process. The concepts of citizenship and employability can be
included in the programmes, but it can be challenging for students who may feel that citizenship has no relevance to their
programme of study. But as stated previously, we are living in a global society and students are required to have transferrable
skills and citizenship is key to global participation. This paper proposes that the inclusion of citizenship and employability can
augment the learner experience, especially when embedded in the students’ own disciplines. In the 20th century, the adult
learning experience focussed on face to face contact, but in the 21st century learners want and expect pedagogical
approaches that encourage interaction using blended learning. These approaches can assist in engaging the learner in critical
thinking that enhances citizenship and employability. The paper will demonstrate how lifelong learning has adapted to the
meet the learning needs of students in the 21st century; including citizenship and employability and focuses on the blended
learning approaches to explain how these enhance and seek to develop the students’ learning experience by encouraging
critical thinking and independent learning. The paper considers a case study that demonstrates the inclusion of teaching
about citizenship and inclusion among students in the School of Engineering and Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian
University. The interventions employed recognise that the students are digitally engaged and the Real World is one that
affects their learning in the 21st Century.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2015


  • independent learning
  • citizenship
  • blended learning
  • employability


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